How to Change Tab Tops to Pocket Curtains

So, I’ve been hemming and hawing over curtains for the living room for months now.  I couldn’t decide on the look I wanted or the amount I wanted to spend on them.  And I didn’t know if I wanted to buy pre made curtains, fabric, or a hybrid of the two – curtains that I had to alter.

I eventually went with a hybrid.  I chose these gorgeous BJÖRNLOKA LINJE linen curtains (I don’t pick the names!) from Ikea.  Mind you, I’ve looked at these curtains a handful of times before and passed them by because they weren’t “just right”.  But on this particular trip to buy my daughter an ice cream cone pick up some blankets, my husband pointed them out, I thought about it again, and finally came to the conclusion that they could probably work!

How to Change Tab Tops to Pocket Curtains from

So, I got home and put the curtains up and of course I didn’t like them!  I liked the curtains themselves, but didn’t like the tab tops.  I don’t know why, but tab tops just aren’t my thing right now.  But I knew I could fix them quite easily…if I was willing to get that dreadful sewing machine out again!  I really hate sewing.  Something always seems to go wrong when I attempt it.  But I’m trying to change that.  I recently borrowed a sewing book from the library and am hoping it will help me get started in the right direction.  I hate the fear that the thought of sewing brings me, so I think it’s high time I do something about that!

Anyway, this was actually a super easy project and I, thankfully, didn’t have anything go wrong!

Here’s how to easily change your tab tops to pocket curtains.

1.  Use your fabric scissors (I love Fiskars!) to cut the tabs off each curtain panel.  Be careful not to cut the fabric they’re attached to!  This will now be the bottom of your curtains.

How to Change Tab Tops to Pocket Curtains

2.  Flip the curtain panel and measure what used to be the bottom, for your pocket.  Measure and pin the end and then measure and pin every 3 inches or so.  For the pocket size, I measured out 3.25 inches, but later decided to sew my pocket line on the top of the hem that was already there.  This made my pockets about 2.75 inches.  I would not recommend going any smaller than 2.75 inches to ensure you can fit the rod inside the pocket.

How to Change Tab Tops to Pocket Curtains How to Change Tab Tops to Pocket Curtains

3.  Get the nerve up to haul out your sewing machine and start sewing.  Seriously, it’s that easy.  Make sure to use a thread color that will blend easily with your fabric, thread the bobbin and all that good stuff, and you’re on your way!

How to Change Tab Tops to Pocket Curtains

Now, that wasn’t all that scary, was it?  Once you’re done sewing, cut off any extra string and hang those puppies!

..   ..   ..

Okay, so I know I failed to show a shot of our whole, huge window, but as you can kind of tell from this picture, we went with two short rods instead of a huge, long one.  Our front window is enormous and to find one rod to fit the whole thing is impossible…or really expensive!  We went with this cool industrial piping that I got at the same time that I hung the curtains in our bedroom.  We painted everything white so it would blend in a little.  I love the industrial look, but also love how the white paint softens it a bit.  

*Note, if you plan to paint plumbing fixtures/metal pipe with spray paint, don’t use it in a high traffic area like this table.  The spray paint chips off quite easily because it doesn’t really have much to stick to.  It’s fine for curtain rods, though, because once they’re up, you don’t touch them anymore and they just sit there and look pretty!  :)

How to Change Tab Tops to Pocket Curtains

Back to the curtains…we hung them a few inches above and outside the window to give the room a bit more height.  A huge plus side to Ikea curtains is that they are really long, so even hanging them high and cutting off the tabs, I still got some pooling on the floor which I think looks so cozy!

How to Change Tab Tops to Pocket Curtains Pretty white curtains pooled on the floor

Pretty white curtains pooled on the floor

Alright, so I have to know.  Do you sew?  Are you a lot better at it than I am?  (You probably are!)  If you are a sewer, are there any other books you recommend reading?  I really want to get the hang of this, so I don’t fear it as much, so any pointers would help a ton!

Linking to Love of Family and Home

Lil’ Luna

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  1. Anne Anderson says

    It’s so FUN to read your blog—you always add some “normal” touches that make me smile (like saying you were going out to get an ice cream cone and then crossing that out) :). Anyway, I’ve personally seen the curtains, and they are darling, and look simply perfect around your window.

  2. says

    Here’s my advice as far as sewing is concerned: just keep doing more and more of it. Without fail I would always have issues when I sewed…still usually have something happen…run out of thread, break an needle, have to play with tension.. but…you learn to fix it quickly and move on the more comfortable you become with your machine.

  3. says

    The best way to learn to sew is to just jump in and sew something. The books will help give you tips. Try YouTube too so you can see someone sewing. The more you do it the better you will get. I have been sewing for 54 years and I still run into problems. I love your blog. Now I’m going to go change some tab top curtains I have in my family room.

  4. says

    I love altering curtains to make them work for me … you did a great job with these! I also loathe my sewing machine, even sewing a straight line. I either run out of thread, break a needle or just can’t sew in a straight line. Ha! But I’m hoping it gets better too. Sewing is so helpful sometimes. :)


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